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The New Life in Christ

12

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.


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Ro 12:1-21. Duties of Believers, General and Particular.

The doctrinal teaching of this Epistle is now followed up by a series of exhortations to practical duty. And first, the all-comprehensive duty.

1. I beseech you therefore—in view of all that has been advanced in the foregoing part of this Epistle.

by the mercies of God—those mercies, whose free and unmerited nature, glorious Channel, and saving fruits have been opened up at such length.

that ye present—See on Ro 6:13, where we have the same exhortation and the same word there rendered "yield" (as also in Ro 12:16, 19).

your bodies—that is, "yourselves in the body," considered as the organ of the inner life. As it is through the body that all the evil that is in the unrenewed heart comes forth into palpable manifestation and action, so it is through the body that all the gracious principles and affections of believers reveal themselves in the outward life. Sanctification extends to the whole man (1Th 5:23, 24).

a living sacrifice—in glorious contrast to the legal sacrifices, which, save as they were slain, were no sacrifices at all. The death of the one "Lamb of God, taking away the sin of the world," has swept all dead victims from off the altar of God, to make room for the redeemed themselves as "living sacrifices" to Him who made "Him to be sin for us"; while every outgoing of their grateful hearts in praise, and every act prompted by the love of Christ, is itself a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savor (Heb 13:15, 16).

holy—As the Levitical victims, when offered without blemish to God, were regarded as holy, so believers, "yielding themselves to God as those that are alive from the dead, and their members as instruments of righteousness unto God," are, in His estimation, not ritually but really "holy," and so

acceptable—"well-pleasing"

unto God—not as the Levitical offerings, merely as appointed symbols of spiritual ideas, but objects, intrinsically, of divine complacency, in their renewed character, and endeared relationship to Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

which is your reasonable—rather, "rational"

service—in contrast, not to the senselessness of idol-worship, but to the offering of irrational victims under the law. In this view the presentation of ourselves, as living monuments of redeeming mercy, is here called "our rational service"; and surely it is the most rational and exalted occupation of God's reasonable creatures. So 2Pe 1:5, "to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

2. And be ye not conformed to this world—Compare Eph 2:2; Ga 1:4, Greek.

but be ye transformed—or, "transfigured" (as in Mt 17:2; and 2Co 3:18, Greek).

by the renewing of your mind—not by a mere outward disconformity to the ungodly world, many of whose actions in themselves may be virtuous and praiseworthy; but by such an inward spiritual transformation as makes the whole life new—new in its motives and ends, even where the actions differ in nothing from those of the world—new, considered as a whole, and in such a sense as to be wholly unattainable save through the constraining power of the love of Christ.

that ye may prove—that is, experimentally. (On the word "experience" see on Ro 5:4, and compare 1Th 5:10, where the sentiment is the same).

what is that—"the"

good and acceptable—"well-pleasing"

and perfect, will of God—We prefer this rendering (with Calvin) to that which many able critics [Tholuck, Meyer, De Wette, Fritzsche, Philippi, Alford, Hodge] adopt—"that ye may prove," or "discern the will of God, [even] what is good, and acceptable, and perfect." God's will is "good," as it demands only what is essentially and unchangeably good (Ro 7:10); it is "well pleasing," in contrast with all that is arbitrary, as demanding only what God has eternal complacency in (compare Mic 6:8, with Jer 9:24); and it is "perfect," as it required nothing else than the perfection of God's reasonable creature, who, in proportion as he attains to it, reflects God's own perfection. Such then is the great general duty of the redeemed—SELF-CONSECRATION, in our whole spirit and soul and body to Him who hath called us into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ. Next follow specific duties, chiefly social; beginning with Humility, the chiefest of all the graces—but here with special reference to spiritual gifts.




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